The substantive representation of women in Poland

Kings College London

Project summary

This research project examines women’s substantive representation in Poland. The overarching research question is whether female deputies act in the interests of women. To what extent do women deputies influence policy outputs promoting women’s interests? It is widely acknowledged that women are underrepresented in politics. Political institutions which are not representative are unjust, lack legitimacy, disclose a democratic deficit and decrease the substantive representation of excluded groups (Phillips 1995). The normative argument for a greater representation of women has been matched by a concern about policies aimed at enhancing women’s representation both descriptively and substantively.

The project proposes a novel approach to examining substantive representation by combining the insights from the public policy literature and the theory of veto players. Building on the researcher’s previous research on the descriptive representation of women in Poland (Gwiazda 2015; Gwiazda 2016), the project will advance the study of women’s representation by focusing on public policies promoted by women and the role of political parties. Since substantive representation is measured by policy outputs, public policy analysis is useful. Two stages of the policy process will be examined here: agenda-setting and policy adoption.


Principal Investigator
Dr. Anna Gwiazda, King's College London

A Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics. She is the Director for MA Public Policy in the Department of Political Economy. Before joining King’s in September 2010, Anna worked at Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. She was also a Visiting Scholar at the European University Institute, Sussex European Institute, Australian National University and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. She has a PhD from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, an M.A. in Political Science from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and a BA in Economics from Technical University in Radom, Poland.